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Scientific Illustration

Memorable illustrations stimulate interest and promote understanding

Duncan MacGruer's scientific illustrations

Unlike research figures, these illustrations are often looser and somewhat metaphorical, alluding to a concept or process artistically and designed to stimulate interest. In other instances they are precise illustrations, close-ups or sections that take the place of photography. Either way, they are great fun to create, and ideal for journal covers, scientific posters and presentations.

Illustration of a single wall carbon nanotube reinforcing a pair of helical polymer chains

Stylized illustration of a single wall carbon nanotube reinforcing a pair of helical polymer chains.

Scientific journal cover art. These projects usually allow a lot of artistic freedom, and are always a wonderful adventure for me and for my clients.

Biofilm scratch testing apparatus

3D models of a biofilm scratch testing apparatus and close up for Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering.

These are hybrid composites composed of MOFs (Metal Organic Frameworks) impregnated with linear polymer chains. The composites are used in gas sensing applications, hence the little sulfur dioxide molecules flying about. For MIT’s Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering.

Scientific illustration of Predictive laser deposition of MPEAs
3D model and scientific illustration of skin section

Surface engineering by predictive laser deposition of multi-principal element alloys (MPEAs, or high entropy alloys). One of several illustrations for a successful grant proposal submitted by Lehigh University's School of Mechanical Engineering.

3D skin section from muscle layer through stratum corneum, including arteries, veins, nerves, sweat gland and hair follicle. For KTH University, Stockholm.

Science journal cover illustration of inflamed atherosclerotic lesions

Cover illustration for Advanced Functional Materials supporting a paper that discusses the identification and diagnoses of inflamed atherosclerotic lesions through the use of single-walled carbon nanotubes and photo acoustic imaging. Joint research by Emory University and Michigan State University.

Illustration of heliostat field and receiver tower

Heliostat field and receiver tower. From a series of grant proposal illustrations for Gigawatt Day Storage Systems.

Science journal cover illustration of fluorescing mechnoiphores

Cover illustration for Soft Matter Journal and Purdue University Department of Materials Engineering. The image references mechanophores, mechanically responsive molecules that fluoresce upon the application of a mechanical stimulus. Imagine identifying a dangerous concentration of stress prior to failure in a wind turbine blade by observing a color change. Fascinating science!

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